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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Writing: It's The First Thing I Learned...


By the time 4:45 rolls around, the atmosphere in the newsroom is stressful at best.  When you're running around making sure teases are created, videos get edited and anchor names are put in their rightful places, the simple task of copy-editing often goes right out the window -- even though it may be one of the most important things you can do for your newscast.

Good writing is the backbone of all great rundowns: uninteresting, confusing or inaccurate stories can ruin even the most creative of shows.  This week, I've really been trying to make sure my writing, as well as the writing of everyone on my team, doesn't drag my show down.  And I've realized something: one of the best ways for me to grow as a writer is simply to stay on top of the news.

Not only does watching multiple newscasts a day and several shows a week help me understand what the top stories are and what's important for my day of producing, but it gives me examples of what works and what doesn't in copy.  Learning by example is key in broadcast news, and the more practice I give myself, the better my writing gets.

Writing for broadcast is the first thing I learned how to do when I began my studies as a journalism major and it remains the most important thing I can do for my show. Next week, by stopping to copy-edit and learning from watching a few extra newscasts, I'm going to make sure my show reflects this!

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